Citi Double Cash card review: One of the best cash-back credit cards with no annual fee, and a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months

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Bottom line: Getting 2% back (1% at the time of purchase and 1% when you pay your bill) without an annual fee is an excellent deal, and it will soon become better when the Citi® Double Cash Card shifts to earning flexible Citi ThankYou points in March 2022.

Review: Is the Citi Double Cash the best credit card for you?

While there are many cash-back credit cards that give you 1.5% back on your spending without an annual fee, few surpass that earning threshold. That’s why the Citi® Double Cash Card is so exceptional.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll earn 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase, and 1% when you pay it off) on all purchases, with no limit to what you can earn. It’s an ideal card for those who want a solid rewards-earning rate without having to keep track of bonus categories or spending caps.

Starting March 28, 2022, new and existing Citi® Double Cash Card cardholders will earn Citi ThankYou points instead of cash back at a rate of 1 point per dollar when you make a purchase, and 1 point per dollar when you pay it off. Here’s a full rundown of the upcoming Citi Double Cash changes.

Because it has no annual fee, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a great option as a long-term “keeper card” — both for its strong earning and because your average account age is a factor in determining your credit score. And although the card doesn’t currently have a welcome bonus, there’s an introductory 0% APR offer on balance transfers for the first 18 months, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable), which can save you money if you’re looking to consolidate debt or move a balance from a high-interest credit card.

Read more: Guide to the best cash-back credit cards

The Citi® Double Cash Card also offers a unique redemption option. Cardholders have the ability to convert their cash-back rewards into Citi ThankYou Rewards points, then redeem them for travel through the Citi travel portal, gift cards, merchandise, and more. On March 28, 2022, the card will start earning Citi ThankYou points directly, which you can redeem for cash back, travel, and more.

If you also have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants), you can combine your rewards and transfer Citi ThankYou points to over a dozen airline partners, including Singapore Airlines and Air France-KLM. 

Redeeming your points this way can often translate into even more value, especially if you book business- or first-class award flights that would otherwise cost a fortune.

Read more: The best Citi credit cards of 2022

Before you decide on the Citi® Double Cash Card, be sure to consider other no-annual-fee cards that offer a similar earning rate. For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, and comes with a welcome bonus of Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: Citi Double Cash vs other Citi cards 

 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Premier® Card

Annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Premier® Card

Rewards rate

1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back when you pay your bill

5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your top eligible spending category* each billing cycle (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other purchases

3x points on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels

1 point per dollar on everything else

Welcome bonus

N/A

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Premier® Card

Card benefits

Access to Citi Entertainment 

0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months, then Citi® Double Cash Card

Access to Citi Entertainment 

0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then a Citi Custom Cash℠ Card APR)

$100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) booked through thankyou.com once per calendar year

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

Access to Citi Entertainment

No foreign transaction fees

Review

 

Citi Custom Cash card review

Citi Premier card review

*eligible 5% cash back categories on the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card are restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment

Citi Double Cash vs other cash-back credit cards

 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards rate

1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back when you pay your bill

2% cash back on all purchases

5% cash back (5x points) on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on everything else

Welcome bonus

N/A

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Card benefits

Access to Citi Entertainment 

0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months, then Citi® Double Cash Card

Cell phone protection

Visa Signature Concierge

Roadside dispatch

Travel and emergency assistance services

Emergency cash disbursement and card replacement

Access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then a Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card variable APR)

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

Car rental insurance (secondary in the US, primary otherwise)

Trip interruption/cancellation insurance

Travel and emergency assistance services

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, then a 14.99%–23.74% variable APR

Review

 

Wells Fargo Active Cash card review

Chase Freedom Unlimited card review

How to earn rewards from the Citi Double Cash

The Citi® Double Cash Card is simple in that it doesn’t require you to keep track of bonus categories — you’ll earn the same rate of cash back on every purchase you make.

Read more: I redeemed over $600 in cash back from the Citi Double Cash this year, and I think it’s a great ‘gateway’ card if you’re new to credit card rewards

Instead of awarding cash back all at once as most cash-back cards do, the Citi® Double Cash Card works a little differently. You’ll earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off. This delayed return shouldn’t be a factor if you pay your bill in full every month, but if you’re someone who carries a balance, it’s something to consider.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one-third of the Citi Trifecta — a trio of Citi cards that can supercharge your ThankYou Rewards balance by earning anywhere from 2x to 5x rewards on every single purchase.

Again, starting March 28, 2022, the Citi® Double Cash Card will earn Citi ThankYou points instead of cash back, at a rate of 1 point per dollar when you make a purchase, and 1 point per dollar when you pay it off. Points are worth 1 cent apiece when you redeem for cash back, so the effective earning rate won’t be changing.

How to use Citi Double Cash rewards

You can redeem rewards from the Citi® Double Cash Card in more ways than you might think.

If you prefer simplicity, you can redeem rewards for a check, a statement credit, or a credit to your linked account once you have at least $25 in rewards. After March 28, 2022, cash back rewards redemptions will not have a minimum requirement for statement credits or direct deposit; check redemptions will have a minimum of $5.

Currently, you can convert your cash rewards into Citi ThankYou points, then redeem them for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more. You can even use Citi ThankYou points to pay down your student loan or mortgage.

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Citi ThankYou points

The Citi® Double Cash Card now lets you transfer converted Citi ThankYou points to one airline partner, JetBlue, at a transfer ratio of 5:4 (1,000 Citi ThankYou points to 800 JetBlue points), and to hotel partners Wyndham (5:4 ratio) and Choice Privileges (2:3 ratio).

If you also hold the Citi Prestige® Credit Card or the Citi Premier Card, however, you can combine your points and transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to all of Citi’s airline transfer partners, including Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific, and Etihad Guest, and at an improved ratio to Citi’s hotel partners.

Citi ThankYou points are worth, on average, 1.6 cents each based on Insider’s latest points and miles valuations — but the exact value you’ll get depends on how you redeem your rewards.

Benefits and features

As a no-annual-fee card, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t come with a ton of cardholder benefits. However, there are a couple that can be very helpful in the right circumstances.

Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months

With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll qualify for a 0% APR on balance transfers for a full 18 months (balance transfers must be completed in the first four months from account opening), followed by a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR. A 5% balance transfer fee applies with a minimum charge of $5.

Read more: The best low-interest and 0% APR credit cards

Using a 0% APR credit card for balance transfers can save you money if you’re carrying high-interest debt on other cards. It can also be a good opportunity to simplify paying down your debt by consolidating everything in one place. Just be sure you’re able to make at least the minimum payment each month and have the means to pay the entire balance before the introductory period expires.

Pair the Citi Double Cash with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige

If you also have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Credit Card, it’s a smart move to pair one of those cards with the Citi® Double Cash Card. This would make it possible to extract the maximum return from your rewards, because the Citi Premier Card and  Citi Prestige® Credit Card open the door to transfers to all of Citi’s airline partners.

Read more: You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to 16 airline and 2 hotel partners, and the best programs can save you thousands of miles on flights to destinations like Hawaii

If you travel often but like saving money by booking award flights, this is an important factor to consider. But before applying, you should check out Citi’s transfer partners to make sure they work for your travel plans. Keep in mind that you can redeem points from these airlines for award flights on partner airlines; for example, because Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, you can use its miles to book award flights on United (also a Star Alliance member).

Most of the current Citi ThankYou transfer partners all offer a 1:1 points transfer ratio, with exceptions noted below:

Citi ThankYou transfer partners

Aeromexico Club PremierAir France-KLM Flying BlueAvianca LifeMilesCathay Pacific Asia MilesChoice Privileges (1:2 ratio; if you don’t have the Citi Premier Card or  Citi Prestige® Credit Card, the transfer ratio is 1,500 Choice points for every 1,000 ThankYou points you convert)Emirates SkywardsEtihad GuestEva Air Infinity MileageLandsInterMiles (formerly Jet Privilege)JetBlue TrueBlue (if you don’t have the Citi Premier Card or  Citi Prestige® Credit Card, the transfer ratio is 800 JetBlue points for every 1,000 ThankYou points you convert)Malaysia Airlines EnrichQantas Frequent FlyerQatar Airways Privilege ClubSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerThai Airways Royal Orchid PlusTurkish Airlines Miles & SmilesVirgin Atlantic Flying ClubWyndham Rewards (if you don’t have the Citi Premier Card or  Citi Prestige® Credit Card, the transfer ratio is 800 Wyndham points for every 1,000 ThankYou points you convert)

You can also transfer Citi ThankYou points to Sears Shop Your Way rewards at a rate of 1 Citi ThankYou point to 10 Shop Your Way rewards points.

Read more: Cash-back card face-off: The Citi Double Cash versus the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Unlocking the ability to transfer points to travel partners with the Citi Premier Card and  Citi Prestige® Credit Card echoes the rules of other transferable points programs. For example, to transfer points to airline and hotel partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll need an annual-fee card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card in your wallet.

Fees and costs

While the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, there are other fees to be aware of.

For example, you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee on all purchases you make outside the US. If you’re heading abroad, use a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees instead.

Read more: I’ve always loved earning travel rewards, but the travel ban pushed me to apply for Citi’s best cash-back card and I couldn’t be happier

You’ll also pay a minimum interest charge whenever you carry a balance, and a fee will apply any time you use your credit card for a cash advance. Also, consider the balance transfer fee we already mentioned, which is 5% (minimum $5) of each balance you transfer over.

Citi Double Cash — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is the Citi Double Cash a Mastercard or a Visa?

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a Mastercard.

What credit score do you need for the Citi Double Cash?

Typically, to get approved for the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll a credit score in the good to excellent range. This means a FICO score of at least 670, or a VantageScore of at least 700.

Do rewards from the Citi Double Cash expire?

Currently, if your account doesn’t earn any cash back on purchases or payments for 12 months, your cash rewards balance will expire.

Read more: How to keep points, miles, and credit card rewards from expiring

However, when the card starts earning ThankYou points instead of cash back on March 28, 2022, your rewards will no longer expire as long as your account is open.

What if I have cash back in my Citi Double Cash account when it switches to earning points?

If you already have cash back in your Citi® Double Cash Card account, it will be converted to ThankYou points at a rate of 1 point = 1 cent. For example, if you have $25 in cash back sitting in your account, it would turn into 2,500 ThankYou points.

Does the Citi Double Cash have travel insurance or purchase protection?

The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t come with travel protections like primary rental car insurance or trip delay insurance, nor does it offer perks like purchase protection or extended warranty. If you’re looking for a card with more benefits, check out our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards for top options.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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